While my name is not quite as common as, say, “Mary Smith,” it’s certainly more common than I originally thought. How did I determine this? By realizing how many people e-mail me, believing that they are messaging someone else who has the same name as me. Years ago, when I signed up for my Gmail account, I was ecstatic to get my name as my e-mail address. First name last name at gmail.com. No numbers, initials or strange combinations – simply my name. However, it seems many people who share my name, and consequently not my e-mail address, seem to think that they do.

Generally, when I get an e-mail addressed to me and I am not the intended recipient, I’ll send back a quick note indicating that I’m not the right person. Most of the time, people get the message. Unfortunately, I still get subscribed to countless e-mail lists and some people refuse to remove my e-mail from their address book. Case in point, the Mormon woman who believes I am part of her family. I receive an update every few months about Elder Parsons (nope, not related to me) and the family’s not-so-interesting news. Finally, I stopped replying because I think she just doesn’t care who gets her updates. I only wish she could make them a bit more salacious.

This morning, I got an e-mail from a woman named Rachel who is planning a tennis event for tomorrow. I was one of seven ladies (ladies who lunch, apparently) on this e-mail and a man named John was CCed. (John’s the mastermind of the operation.) She wrote a pretty lengthy message about her proposed plans, including food and drinks suggestions.

Finally, in bold, it says:

Recap: 
1.  Get back to me to confirm that yes you are playing tomorrow
2.  Who do you want to partner with
3.  Food choice
4.  A cell phone number that you can be reached on.

Perhaps I was feeling a little punchy this morning when I replied to Rachel, “Hi Rachel, Although tennis sounds great and the food sounds delicious, I don’t think you intended to invite me. Please double-check with the ‘Jen Parsons’ you know to verify her e-mail address.”

Her first response came about 10 minutes later – “I’m so sorry.  John (name redacted)  gave me this email address.” (John, of course, being the CCed mastermind of the tennis extravaganza.) In my head I thought, “I don’t know who he is either!” About a minute later, she followed up with, “Or maybe my computer changed it…sure you don’t want to play? Have a good day.” I replied and let her know that I appreciated the invite, but doubted she was hosting this event in Phoenix.

After that, the reply-all e-mails started to roll in. Debee replied, “I’ll bring muffins – thanks for organizing Rachel!” After that, Alison indicated that she would bring a fruit tray. All I could think while reading these messages was that NO ONE was answering the very specific four questions that Rachel asked! I was annoyed on her behalf! It’s nice that both of you are bringing food, but (1) are you playing, (2) who do you want to partner with and (3) what cell phone number can you be reached on? I see now why she wrote a bold recap – these ladies do not read their e-mails!

Needless to say, if I was Rachel, I’d never plan another tennis outing. I’d leave it to John or host a potluck. Clearly these ladies are all about their food – and not their tennis. Or e-mail reading.

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